Transcript for Episode 90: Paris Highlights You Can See in One Day

Categories: First Time in Paris, One Day in Paris, Paris

Discussed in this Episode

  • Île de la Cité
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Bathroom and WiFi behind Notre Dame
  • Latin Quarter
  • Sainte Chapelle
  • Bateaux Mouches
  • Musée d'Orsay
  • Montmartre
  • Sacré Coeur
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Louvre Museum
  • Catacombs
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Champs Elysées
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery
  • Montparnasse Tower
  • Institut du Monde Arabe
  • Paris Open-Air Markets

[00:00:00] On today’s episode of join us in France: What are must sees in Paris. What should you not miss on your first visit? Or if you have only one day to spend in Paris? How do you get a feel for Paris in one day? Should you stay away from touristy places? What are places you should avoid if you only have one day in Paris? What about people who spend one day in Paris with a child? What about photography buffs? What if you really want to practice your french on that one day? And why are French museums a bit difficult for most people?


[00:01:06] This is Join Us in France Episode 90. Hello, I’m Annie and Join Us in France is a travel podcast about all things French. But we mostly talk about travel, and sometimes it can be something historical or cultural. We love to talk about food and wine obviously because we live in France we love this stuff. But today I am going to do an episode where I answer a question: this person says I have a single Saturday in Paris in mid November. No obligations. What would you recommend I do? And this person says I love architecture. I love museums of all kinds. And I love people watching. I Love antiquities. I love the obscure and the unusual and out of the way less touristy suggestions are really appreciated.


[00:01:58] So this is what I recommend for this person. And, by the way, lots of people find themselves in this situation. Because maybe they’ve never been to Paris before—this person doesn’t say. So, maybe this person hasn’t ever been to Paris before, but maybe they’ve been to Paris before but just not as a visitor. Maybe you’ve been for work or maybe you’ve had a layover but you stayed in the airport or something like that.


[00:02:22] And by the way if you want to see some suggestions of what you can do with a nice long layover in Paris go to episode, I think it was 73. Yes it was episode 73 and it was called layover in Paris.


[00:02:38] And this is an episode where I talk about what you can do to take public transportation between the airport and Paris. What you can do with your luggage even, because you probably want to store it if you’re on layover you have luggage necessarily. And some of the things you might do in Paris and some of the information I shared on episode 73 and this one is going to be overlapped but not directly.


[00:03:03] Because today I’m going to concentrate on what it is, what are the highlights of Paris. If you’ve not seen them before. What are all those things that you cannot miss? Because if you did you would be a little bit of a fool.

notre dame cathedral seen from the river; paris highlights

[00:03:19] Now this person says less touristy things. Appreciate it. OK let me go on a little bit of a rant about that. If you’re going to Paris and you don’t want to see anything touristy, you are making a big mistake. Paris has lots and lots and lots of things that you should see that are beautiful that are worth seeing. Some of them less touristy. But if you automatically eliminate a place just because it’s touristy you are going to be missing out. There are reasons why these places have gotten so touristy and the reason is: they are lovely. They are beautiful. They are full of history. They are glorious to look at. They make people feel like they have experienced Paris.


[00:04:07] And if that doesn’t mean anything to you if you would rather go see some obscure little museum that has you know five visitors a day instead of 5000 visitors a day. Well you are probably, I mean maybe that’s your personality. Maybe that’s who you are and you just don’t want to see the highlights.


[00:04:25] But honestly there’s a reason why some museums get so few visitors. It’s because maybe it’s just because nobody’s talked about them. That’s that’s one thing, but it’s also probably because it is not that nice. Right?


[00:04:40] Also the other thing you have to know if you want to go to the less famous… This persons who loves museums. Very good. Plenty of choices on museums in Paris. But if if you want to go to a French museum and expect that it will be self-explanatory you are making a mistake.


[00:05:01] Museums in France are not self-explanatory. Museum curators in France make the assumption that the museum goer is an educated person who has taken the time to learn about that era, that that time period. So if you go to a lovely museum like the Carnavalet in Paris, yes you will see a lot of very interesting things. But if you don’t know anything about, it if you don’t have any background information.


[00:05:30] One it’s very likely that all the signage is going to be in French only. That’s one problem with a lot of museums I don’t know if the Carnavalet specifically like that. I don’t remember but you will find that a lot in France that the signage is all in French. No English, no Spanish, no nothing.


[00:05:48] And again, it is because the curator’s opinion is that it’s educated people that come to this museum, right? And educated people obviously speak French, right? They’re mistaken about that but still still that’s their point of view, that’s their world view. OK. So if you show up in a museum like the Carnavalet and you don’t speak French and you don’t really know very much of the history. Well, you are not going to get very much out of it. You will see objects and you will not make any sense.


[00:06:21] French museums are not the kind of place where they take you by the hand and they tell you a story a very simple simple story and you get out having learned that one simple story. No. They throw a lot of stuff at you and it’s up to you to be discerning and to be knowledgeable enough to make sense of it.

gargoyles on notre dame cathedral; paris highlights
Photo Annie Sargent

[00:06:39] Now there are there is a movement in France to get away from that sort of attitude but it’s still very prevalent in special especially in minor museums. OK so this is my little rant about if you don’t want to see anything touristy maybe don’t go to Paris maybe go to some other city. For instance the city of Albi in the south of France is, I mean it has tourists but compared to Paris it’s absolutely nothing. It has a fabulous museum of art the museum of Toulouse-Lautrec. Much much more low key. Very nice. That sort of thing. But if you are in Paris you’ll have to see Paris you can’t just go hide in a place where nobody goes!


[00:07:21] OK. So, rant over for that. If this is your first time in Paris and you have one day. OK. This is what I would do:.


[00:07:31] In the morning, I would start early and I would walk around the Ile de la Cité or maybe the Latin Quarter. And I would just walk, sit down at a cafe, have breakfast, have a croissant. If you’re like me you won’t have a croissant you will have a “pain au chocolat”. Or as we call it in the south of France “chocolatine”. In Paris they call it a “pain au chocolat”. So it’s a chocolate bread, right? But it’s I mean it’s not a bread it’s a pastry really. It’s a Danish, OK?


[00:08:09] So have your croissant, have your coffee, or your “café au lait”. French people don’t really do lattes yet. A few places of course are some Starbucks now but for the most part if you want a latte ask for a “café au lait” and that’s what you’re going to get. It’s not going to be as frothy but it’s that sort of a drink. And you’re not going to get a gallon size café au lait either. OK it’s going to be probably a cup worth of coffee. They don’t do that, you know, the mega giant big drinks of coffee. Nobody drinks that in France people French people like to have small very strong flavored coffee and they don’t usually put sugar in it. You know we’re a little strange.


[00:08:55] I don’t do that. I love my coffee in the morning weak and with milk and sugar, so you know that’s just me. But I’m not that French when it comes to that. Although I am French in many many other ways. I insist, I insist! So you walk around either in the Latin Quarter which is very close to Notre Dame. Or the Ile de la Cité if you want to see rich and maybe possibly famous people because Ile de la Cité is so expensive to live in.


[00:09:24] [Addendum: I misspoke, few people live on the Ile de la Cité, it’s mostly a business area. Super rich people live on Ile Saint Louis.]


[00:09:25] It’s like where you know actors and famous you know very rich people live. Latin Quarter is more of a popular kind of place but it’s also very nice and very close to where I think you should go. So spend an hour or so walking around in the morning taking in the views of the Ile de la Cité.


[00:09:48] And Ile de la Cité by the way we talked about it in the very second episode, Episode 2. It’s where Paris was born. And this, Elyse gives a very nice explanation. We were a little bit nervous in front of a microphone at the beginning but it’s still very worth listening to it. Ile de la Cité is where Paris was born and obviously you’re not going to see the settlements from you know the prehistorical times but there were people in that on that little island in the middle of the Seine River from time immemorial.


[00:10:22] I mean, as long as there’s been people, there’s been people there. Just really truly the birth of Paris is right there. So walk around take in the local people. This person says she likes to do people watching. Well this is perfect. Do some people watching stop have a couple of cups of coffee in different places. Because you know different perspective. Perspective is everything. And when you’re done with that I would go visit Notre Dame. I would not beat around the bush. This is Paris, you got to see Notre Dame. OK.

kings of the old testament on the facade of notre dame; paris highlights
Photo Annie Sargent

[00:10:56] Notre Dame lovely lovely place. Depending on how much time you want to spend there. The minimum I would do is walk all the way around the cathedral and I would also walk outside. I mean outside of the cathedral because you will see some you know what people used to live in you have to imagine that people used to live very close to the cathedral and they used to look up at these monumental thing all the time and you have to imagine what it must have been like to be poor in the middle middle ages and looking up at this thing and imagine how they felt.


[00:11:30] That is just a powerful powerful thing that you can do to yourself and just say you know I’m poor. I’m sleeping on straw and my meals come from some big pot of everlasting soup you know where you just keep adding whatever vegetables you find and whatever meat you find you know you kill a rabbit put the rabbit in there. You know that’s that’s sort of a lifestyle and then you walk out and you have this church. Imagine that. It’s just powerful.


[00:11:59] So I would walk all the way around and by the way there’s a park in the back of not Notre Dame where it’s… It’s a public park. So it’s got a fence and it’s got opening and closing hours. But it also has a very nice public bathroom and that’s kept pretty clean as far as bathrooms are concerned in France that could be another rant. But I’m going to do it. Do have coins in your pocket. No I don’t know of that particular one wants coins but if you don’t have any coins you might be in a pickle to find a bathroom that will let you.


[00:12:34] Also the other thing that you will find in that back little park is Wi-Fi. Free public Wi-Fi. All parks in Paris. So long as they’re fenced and they have opening and closing hours have Wi-Fi. You can just find it with your device and use it and it’s usually pretty good. The thing is it closes at night so it’s not available you know 24 hours. It’s limited hours. Summer hours are longer than winter hours. But anyway you’re there for a day right. So it doesn’t matter what happens at night. It will be open for you.


[00:13:11] So walk around the cathedral also walk inside of Notre Dame. Notre Dame    is one of those classy classy cathedrals. OK. There are cathedrals of all sorts all over Europe. Some of them are very popular and very like tchotchke-like. Have lots and lots and lots of candles. Have lots of plates plastic Virgin Marys have you know all that sort of thing. Notre Dame is not like that. OK. It is a classy Cathedral. It has room. It feels roomy, it feels grand. It’s just the feeling in there is just overwhelming.


[00:13:51] Now of course I love to walk into cathedrals. If there’s a church and the doors open I will go in because I’m not a religious person but I love to see churches. I think churches speak loudly about the human condition and about what it is that makes us who we are today. So seeing that I love history, I love churches.


[00:14:13] So I would walk around Notre Dame. Take your time. Look at some details. You might arrive at a time when there is a service going on. And if that’s the case sit down for a minute listen. It will probably be in French although sometimes they do services in other languages. Sometimes the singing is exquisite. Notre Dame has a beautiful choir boys choir where they often have… When you walk in, this happened to me a few times, you walk in and you have an adult priest with a boy singing. And they they do some pieces that are just made for that sort of singing. And it is just just beautiful.

sacré coeur; paris highlights
Photo Annie Sargent

[00:15:06] Now you have to imagine that if you’re a priest in France and you get invited to go to Notre Dame, you are one of the top notch priests in the country. So you always have a giggle because they’re always good looking. And they can sing. It’s not always the case in every French church you go to! So Notre Dame, take your time walk around. If the line is short, and I should have said this before. If, when you do you’re walking around Notre Dame, if you notice… OK, if you’re facing Notre Dame, to them to your left on the side is where you get the tickets for going up the towers of Notre Dame. Going into the church is free and open to the public. They might not let you in with a big bag and they might look inside of your bag for safety reasons but it’s free and open to the public. But if you go…


[00:16:05] So, if you’re facing the cathedral, to the left at the very bottom of the church look down because people, it’s so tall, people look up and they miss it. There is a little place where you buy the tickets to go up the tower. That’s the only thing you have to pay for. The tower is a lot of stairs but it’s very very good exercise. And sometimes the line is really long. If the line is really long, and you only have one day, I would skip it. But if you happen to be there on a day when the line is not too long, I would definitely get a ticket. It’s probably 10 euros or something like that and get your ticket, go up the tower.


[00:16:42] You’ll get some good exercise its 300 and something steps. And some of the way, you are inside of the tower you don’t see anything, but then you start walking outside a little bit. And that is so beautiful because you get to see the gargoyles from up close, you get details on the roof the roof not a has some beautiful sculpture. It’s truly beautiful. You can see the whole city, and you can see the Eiffel Tower, which is not that far away as the crow flies. It’s just a fun fun experience so I would do it if if you have the time and if the line for tickets isn’t too long. If you have you know a few hundred people ahead of you. I mean take a look and see if it moves fast but maybe that’s one in a day you probably you may not have time to do all of that. OK now so you’ve done your breakfast.


[00:17:36] You’ve walked all around Notre Dame. You’ve enjoyed the Ile de la Cité, you might have walked up the tower. You’ve seen Notre Dame. Now it’s getting close to lunchtime. What I would do: my take on lunches is, go in Paris don’t go cheap on the food. If you can afford a 50€ lunch, do it. Because that pretty much guarantees that you will have a fine lunch. You might not be you know the very best you’ve ever had but it would be a good lunch. And definitely have some wine with your lunch because you’re in France and this is what we do. OK.


[00:18:19] But if you don’t have the funds or the time to go find a nice restaurant that will serve you something fancy, and you will find plenty of those like around City Hall, Paris city hall, those kinds of places. But right around Notre Dame, right on the plaza you have some brasseries. These little cafes also serve lunch and dinner. They probably serve dinner too. They serve all day, they are pretty fast. They are pretty inexpensive it’s going to be probably 15 euros to 20 euros or something for a lunch. Maybe a little more with wine if you get some wine. But you know you could always ask for “un pichet de vin”, “un pichet de vin”. A pitcher, it kind of looks like that. P I C H E T that’s the house wine and that one will probably cost you five euros or something. At the most. And it might just be included in your meal too. So have lunch right there.


[00:19:24] It is not high cuisine it’s not absolutely fabulous but they’ll serve    you and I salad or a nice omelette or lots of those sorts of places now offer you know they have a burger or something. Or you could have steak frites, which is the default French lunch you know steak and fries. So it’s a nice place you can sit down. Definitely use the bathroom before you leave because sometimes bathrooms are a bit of a problem in Paris so don’t leave without using a bathroom. Have a nice lunch and enjoy your time there.


[00:19:57] OK, the afternoon what do you do in the afternoon? You are very close to the Sainte Chapelle, and you should see the Sainte Chapelle. OK. Again me and my churches! I love churches, but I would definitely not miss the Sainte Chapelle, especially if it’s a little bit of a sunny day. OK. If you have sunrays coming out, oh my goodness it is going to be so beautiful. Sainte Chapelle is known for its stained glass windows. They are so tall, so blue. They are amazing! You have. I mean I’m sure you’ve seen stained glass windows in your life. But you have not seen those! Those are so much better than anything else you’ve seen before. Just amazing. And if you have a little bit of sun. Oh, it’ll be just heaven. It’s like it’s like walking into a kaleidoscope. It is just awesome awesome awesome. Ok so visit the Sainte Chapelle. You don’t need to know that much about the history of friendship and to enjoy it.

exterior of the sainte chapelle; paris highlights
Photo Annie Sargent

[00:20:55] So that’s that’s that’s why I’m recommend these places. Because even if you know nothing about Notre Dame, you don’t even want to know why it’s there what it’s doing. You don’t want to know nothing, and you just want to look at something beautiful. Well Notre Dame is it! Sainte Chapelle is it! You can enjoy it without knowing anything about it. It’s just right there. It’s just beautiful. It will hit you in the face it will touch your heart. And you will have, it will create a lasting memory.


[00:21:23] Now the Sainte Chapelle also has this very… They also do concerts at the Sainte Chapelle. Now it’s not a very large church. So you’re not going to have a symphony and a big choir or something. No, it’s going to be probably a quatuor.    It’s going to be like a string quartet going to be something small, and they always do concerts that are very approachable. So it’s not going to be you know some piece that you’ve never heard of by a composer you’ve never heard of. It’s probably going to be something very well known because they are trying to appeal to the widest audience and so they keep it very simple.


[00:22:05] But those are top notch musicians. They probably work at the French opera house or maybe they work at the symphony Paris symphony. I said the French Opera House. I didn’t mean the French opera house I’m in the Paris Opera House. They they probably work with the symphony the Paris symphony. I mean these are top notch musicians. You’re not going to get second rate musicians there but they will play something very approachable. Which is good you know they often do like the Four Seasons or whatever.


[00:22:34] That’s sort of a piece that you’ve heard and it’s the concerts going to be an hour and a half maybe. If you get in the evening or sometimes on Sundays the afternoon concerts. It would be very worth your time because then you get to sit there and hear that beautiful music and see see this thing. It’s like I’m telling you it’s like a kaleidoscope especially when it’s sunny outside. It’s unbelievable. It’s just beautiful beautiful.

interior of the Sainte Chapelle; paris highlights
Photo Annie Sargent

[00:23:00] Now your day is pretty much spent. What else can you do if you have a few more hours? Well this is the other thing that I will do and lots of people say why are you recommending this? This is like so overdone blah blah blah. Well I’m sorry folks it is overdone because it’s very very nice. And that is taking a ride on the bateaux mouches. OK. Les bateaux mouches, go back to Notre Dame, on the banks of the river you will see you can buy your ticket maybe 15 euros or something like that. You sit in there and they take you all the way down to the Eiffel Tower and back.


[00:23:33] [Addendum: The nearest boats are called Vedettes de Paris, you can catch from from the Vert Galant Park]


[00:23:33] It is absolutely gorgeous you see some of the most beautiful buildings along the way the Eiffel Tower. I mean I’m sorry, but the Eiffel Tower is awesome. It is beautiful. It just makes me happy seeing it. It means Paris. It means it means more in Paris I mean France, right? It is like the thing you need to see. It is huge. You can’t, if you haven’t seen it. You just go.


[00:23:56] You know you’ve seen so many of the little plastic reproductions are ridiculous. Well it’s nothing like that and it’s nothing like the one in Las Vegas either. Which is fine by the way but the Eiffel Tower is really good. And if you can be there in the evening if you can do your bateaux mouches, so you have a full day, so you’re there from 7:00 in the morning till 11:00 at night or something, then then definitely go in the evening, do your bateaux mouches in the evening. You will see the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Every half hour on the hour an hour and half hour that it does a sparkle show. It’s just gorgeous. It’s just beautiful.


[00:24:30] [Addendum: I misspoke again here, it’s only once per hour on the hour.].


[00:24:30] OK so that’s what I would do in a day. OK. That definitely definitely would do that in a day. That’s enough. It will give you a great feel for Paris and you will leave having thought like this was a good day. This was a good day because I am not telling you to go all over the place OK. I’m telling you to go to Ile de la Cité, central Paris, and stay there the whole day pretty much. Notre Dame is right there. You just walk around there or even Latin Quarter is very close on the left bank. And then if you want to go see the Sainte Chapelle, it’s also very close walking distance. If you take the Bateaux mouches but mostly just come back to Notre Dame and you take your Bateaux Mouches. You have not exhausted yourself you know hiking through all of this but you know if you went up the tower you have had your exercise for the day so. So that’s that’s pretty good.


[00:25:22] So that would be a very nice day in my opinion. That’s my opinion. Some of the other things that you should keep in mind, those lists of top 10 in Paris are highlights of Paris often include things that I think are just silly. For instance people say Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur. OK. Sacré Coeur, it’s a very striking looking church from the outside but inside it’s very dark. It’s very very very dark, you will hardly see anything. And also it’s the kind of church where first of all it’s extremely popular. OK it’s a very Yeah it’s it’s it’s it’s the plastic souvenir kind of church. OK. And it is for people who are.


[00:26:11] It’s like a pilgrimage church is the word I was looking for pilgrimage church. It is just the kind of place where people go because they want to pray. And if you show up with your camera and you’re like touristy, well you’re visitor attitude towards religion. They might give you some funny looks. Well they certainly gave me some funny looks. So I don’t think it’s a must see. I mean Sacré Coeur, yeah it’s fine. But that was the Sacré Coeur.


[00:26:41] Now let me tell you a little bit about Montmartre, la Butte de Montmartre. This is a place that has a lot of history to it, but it has turned into a circus in my opinion. It is the kind of place where you have thousands of people all walking in the same direction. It’s like this path that you’re almost obliged to follow because we’re like sheep. You know we just follow tourists. But Montmartre is fine.


[00:27:10] I mean there are people who do street art and whatever stuff like that it’s fine it’s fine but you’ll find other places in Paris too. One thing that you do find in Montmartre that you don’t find in other places in Paris is ethnic food. I’ve got to tell you I’m French but French people are a bit stubborn. We like our food and nothing else. And so we don’t like change we don’t like to be introduced to new things and that sort of thing. So ethnic food is not a big hit in France. One of the few places where it is is Montmartre where there are enough visitors and enough people walking around all the time that these restaurants actually make a living. Ethnic restaurants I mean. So if you are going to go to an ethnic restaurant there or a restaurant of any sort there’s all sorts of restaurants there and pretty nice yeah it’s worth going to Montmartre, but would I go just so that I can do the obligatory walk in church and then walk around with all the tourists. No I would not do that because that to me is not Paris anymore it is just that is 1000 percent touristy.


[00:28:17] [Addendum: What I should have said is you don’t find a lot of ethnic restaurants in areas where tourists commonly go. Of course there are ethnic restaurants in “ethnic” parts of Paris where few visitors ever set foot.]


[00:28:17] It’s not there’s nothing left of… In my opinion this is just my opinion it’s my podcast I can give you my opinion. I told you to go on the Bateaux Mouche and there are people who feel that way about the Bateaux Mouche that it’s too touristy. But I’m sorry about the Bateaux Mouche take you in a very short amount of time in an hour an hour and 15 minutes you will see a lot of the banks of Paris you will see the Eiffel Tower you will see some beautiful stuff right. But if you just go to Montmartre and you walk around well you’re going to see a lot of plastic souvenirs is what you’re gonna see and I don’t think it’s worth it.


[00:28:50] I just think it’s it. So that makes the top list of lots of people’s lists and I don’t think it’s it’s you can’t just I can’t justify it I can’t see why. Now another place that people aren’t sure about the Eiffel Tower. The yeah the Eiffel Tower if you only have one day don’t go to the Eiffel Tower like don’t take the underground. I mean the RER    and go all the way as far away it’s as far away and one. You’re at the Eiffel Tower you’re far away from most anything else. Now it has always been your dream and that’s the one thing you want to do of course go it’s a beautiful place right. But if you’re happy just seeing it from the boat then see it from the Bateaux Mouche it will be very lovely.

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[00:29:36] If you want to get the view from the Trocadero and then you get off the boat and go especially but you have to know that going to the Eiffel Tower is off centre and it’s going to take you a good two hours three hours maybe so it’s going to eat up a lot of your day just to do that. If it’s something you want to do do it. I love the Eiffel Tower. I’ll go to the Eiffel Tower any day. OK so I’m not bad mouthing it, I just say I just think that it’s if you only have one day it might take too long to get there. That’s all.


[00:30:05] Big museums like the Louvre. Yes lovely beautiful. I love it. But what. What are you getting… What are you going to get off Paris. If you just go to the Louvre that one day? You could spend a whole day and see only a tenth of it, and unless you have this burning desire to go see, I don’t know. Egyptian art or something, then yeah go. But you’re not an art aficionado that already knows a lot about art. Yeah I wouldn’t I wouldn’t go spend the day in the Louvre. If you just have the one day don’t do that. I would go if you have a week I would go but if you have just the one day I would not.


[00:30:39] So what if you have to just the one day and you’re there with kids? That is a very good question. I think what I would do depending on the kid the age of the kids I think I might go to catacombs because the catacombs. It’s kind of a bit of walking. I mean you do have lots of stairs too. So there’s some walking but it’s very I mean it’s just spooky a little sobering and I’m recording this. It’s almost Halloween. So that’s probably why I have the catacombs on my on my mind. But yeah I think the catacombs are fun to do. If you have just a one day and you have a kid with you. Something you will remember let’s put it that way. They will they will forget most of things but they might they probably won’t forget the catacombs. Now you have a kid that’s very impressionable and maybe not a good plan because it means that you are surrounded by skulls and bones. OK.


[00:31:32] It’s the catacombs are where the cemeteries in Paris were so full that they couldn’t bury people anymore, so they emptied the cemeteries. They kept the bones in an organized way. So when you visit the catacombs you will see that these are the bones that were in this area of that specific cemetery. OK. But they just stack them they just stacks and stacks and stacks of bones because these were old stone quarries. So they had these tunnels everywhere and there’s many more that are not full of bones anymore but yeah it’s just a… I can’t call it a fun place to see but it’s it’s it’s a very worthwhile thing to see in Paris. That would be good for a visitor with a kid.


[00:32:20] Another thing that often makes a list of highlights of Paris is the Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe. I totally disagree with that. I don’t think you should. If you are going to be in Paris for just one day I wouldn’t go. Unless it’s your long lifelong desire to do it obviously. But if if you want to just see the the most Parisian of Paris don’t go there, because the Champs Elysées is a place where you will have a lot of stores that pay high super high rent and they want to sell so badly that I mean if you love shopping but these are also the kinds of stores you will find anywhere else in France. So it’s not that special anymore. You know. I mean not in my opinion it’s just not that special anymore. The Arc de Triomphe, yeah it’s nice you have a nice view from there. But what you mostly see and what’s really really striking is the rond point de l’étoile.


[00:33:20] So the roundabout that the that the Arc de Triomphe sits in the middle of. It’s interesting because this is an old style French roundabout with right hand side priority. Even if you know roundabouts you’ve never seen a roundabout like this one because on a normal roundabout before you enter the roundabout you have to yield to whoever is coming from your left. This roundabout, and a few others in France, there’s not that many of them left because they’re terribly dangerous. Nobody understands what’s going on. Is you have priority as you enter the roundabout. But then you have to yield to everybody else who’s entering the roundabout and it makes a massive mess especially when it’s very busy. It’s terrible.


[00:34:03] So if you want to see that kind of driving chaos, yes then go up the Arc de Triomphe and you’ll see that. And it’s fun to see it’s fun to see. But I know you only have one day in Paris. I wouldn’t make that my one thing to do.


[00:34:19] Another thing that often makes the top 10 list is Père Lachaise, the    the cemetery. I’ve done an episode on Père Lachaise, it was episode 68. I love the place it’s absolutely fabulous. The thing is, it’s far away from everything else and if you only have one day don’t go there. You know do this other stuff that I told you about earlier. Père Lachaise    is lovely but that’s good if you have several days in Paris. Don’t go for just one day.


[00:34:47] And you know what? If you are not up to walking very much I would definitely recommend just take the bus in Paris. Take the city bus, you don’t have to take the hop on hop off bus. I mean those are fine too if you’re trying to save time the city buses are very fun.


[00:35:08] There’s people who say go in the metro in Paris. That’s one of the highlights. Okay the metro in Paris is fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. Some some Metro stations are very nice looking and have history and all of that, but you are there for one day! Don’t be in a tunnel! That doesn’t make any sense to me! No, don’t do that just if you don’t want to walk and you still want to see a lot of Paris from the comfort of a seat. Well then take a bus, take a city bus. Just go all the way up to the end of the line and all the way back to where you started from. And then take another bus in another direction. You could do that. It wouldn’t be my idea of a fun day but you would see quite a bit doing that. You know better than doing that in the metro honestly.


[00:35:53] I mean if you’re a photographer. Where should you go if your photographer and you just want to take some pictures. Fun pictures of Paris that one day. OK. The Eiffel Tower is fine you can take some nice pictures of especially like Grand Palais, but the Eiffel Tower is the distinguishing feature of Paris. So I would not take my photos from the Eiffel Tower. So if you want to take nice photos go up Notre Dame tower.


[00:36:20] You will get some nice photos there or go up the Montparnasse tower.M O N T P A R N A S S E. That one you pay a little bit to get to the top but you have glorious views of Paris. Or if you go to the Musée du Monde Arabe. That one, you can go to to the terrace, and I think it’s even free and get some really nice pictures from there. So those would be good places for photographers.


[00:36:54] There are people who say oh if you go to Montmartre, Montmartre where the big Sacré Coeur you get some nice views. I don’t think so. I think the view from up there is not that interesting. I mean I’ve taken some pictures from there but I’m not that interesting. So yeah for photographers I would say that the tower at Notre Dame, the Montparnasse Tower the Institut du Monde Arabe along the banks of the river has some really nice terrace where you can take some photos.


[00:37:26] Now if you’re in Paris for just one day but you would like to practice your french. Well then I would then I say go to some of the less known places like for instance. There’s a big market at the Porte de Clignancourt. It’s on the weekend it’s a flea market.


[00:37:53] You know it’s it’s not every day but it’s it’s a pretty nice market. You could go to any market and I’ll find you a list of Paris markets that I’ll put on that you can see but depending on the day you know markets are mostly in the morning they’re not every day. So do check out the schedule before you go. Yeah that would be fun. Go to the market buy some things whatever you want and talk to people.


[00:38:22] That would be good to sit at a cafe watch people any cafe. That would be very fun too. But definitely definitely do not avoid the biggies in Paris just because they’re touristy. That’s a mistake. They’re tourist they’re lovely. It’s just the reality of it. If you have a burning desire to see Impressionists, post-impressionist well go to the Musée d’Orsay. Orsay Museum, you can see it in a day. It’s very approachable art. It’s it’s it’s it’s nice if you want to do just one museum that one day. Yes, probably that one day if I only had one day in Paris would I necessarily do that. Not really. I would still go to Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, and Bateaux Mouches. That would be if you just have the one day that’s what you do in Paris.


[00:39:12] OK well folks that’s going to be it for us today thank you so much for your support everybody. But I wanted to give some advice because there are so many people who look for lists of highlights of Paris who don’t really you don’t really know you’ve never been you know you never and you don’t know you need somebody to direct you.


[00:39:31] And that’s what I love to do on this show. And of course on you will find lots and lots of other shows on Paris. If you go to the right hand side of the site you’ll see categories and in these categories you’ll see that Paris there’s 20 25 plus episodes on Paris. So if you want to know about a specific area in Paris you will find it there as well. OK thank you very much everybody. And I’ll talk to you next week. Au revoir !


[00:39:59] Oh this brings us to the end of another Join us in France travel podcast. You can leave a comment on the website. Follow us on Facebook or look for @ParisPodcast on Twitter. I put lots of information on Facebook and Twitter that never makes it into this show. And also this is a subliminal message. Join the mailing list. Now, today! You could do that on, look for the green button! Et c’est tout pour aujourd’hui !

Inside view of Notre Dame Cathedral with no people inside, empty cathedral

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Categories: First Time in Paris, One Day in Paris, Paris